Below is our columnists' preview for the 2009 ACC Conference.
**2009 ACC Conference - Preseason Preview**
The ACC is among one of the most wide open conferences in the nation heading into 2009. There are a number of teams that could emerge out of the bunch and make their claim at a conference title. Florida State will be the large favorite to come out of the Atlantic Division. The Seminoles return 8 starters on the defensive side of the ball which will be among the best defenses in the conference. Christian Ponder should be improved and the offense will have the ability to score quickly. The Clemson Tigers could come out of the woodwork and make a run at the division. A year after crumbling from high expectations the Tigers have flown under the radar for 2009. However, running back C.J Spiller is among one of the most explosive backs in America. Clemson has also beaten Florida State the last 3 out of 4 seasons and these two teams will be front runners in the Atlantic.
The Coastal Division has all the makings to be another two horse race. Georgia Tech was the surprise team in the conference last season with their old school style offensive attack. Jonathon Dwyer is one of the best backs in the ACC and will be key player again in the option style offense. Virginia Tech may have the best defense in the league even after losing some key players on that side of the ball. The Hokies scoring defense ranked 9th in America last season holding teams to just 16 points per game. Expect more of the same from the defense while the offense will rely heavily on sophomore Darren Evans who rushed for over 1200 yards as a freshman. However, the Hokies will need their passing game to improve as they averaged just 129 yards per game ranking towards the very bottom of the ACC in 2008.
The bottom line in the ACC will be which offenses can break away from the pack. North Carolina State and Miami could play spoiler roles this season. Florida State appears to be the best offense out of the gates, but the ACC has proven to provide the unexpected over the years. Unfortunately, there just do not seem to be any over powering teams in the ACC this season meaning National Title hopes may be out the picture.